Bijan Chemirani with Ross Daly
Bijan Chemirani is interested in mythical musical spaces. On Gulistan, Chemirani explores a place where Greek, Persian and Azerbaijani music meet. A gulistan is a rose garden, the classic metaphor for the source of inspiration for poets and musicians.
The album is full of spirited tempo and fiery instrumental conversations between fiddles and percussion. These are Middle Eastern fiddles, kamanchehs, kemences and rebecs. In the Persian musical tradition, the kamancheh is thought to be the world's original fiddle. Chemirani plays with a hard attack, framing the melody in double chords, making use of changing Balkan rhythmic patterns. Chemirani's sound will startle those whose exposure to the kamancheh has been the more refined playing of Ostad Ali Asghar Bahari or Kayhan Kalhor. It's like putting Bartok and a Gypsy orchestra side by side. However, let me quickly add that this in no way implies a "high" and "low" value. Like any good musician, Chemirani has discovered strengths in his instrument that few others have. He is a virtuoso and the power and beauty of his music is really quite remarkable. Outstanding tracks include Chemirani's composition "Liqa" and Ross Daly's "Makrinitsa."
The British-born Daly is an ideal collaborator, having absorbed Greek, Turkish, Egyptian and other Middle-Eastern influences. The result is an incredibly virile music that has the wailing, nasal-like color of Balkan and Near East folk tunes yet it is very contemporary, melodically sophisticated and unpredictable. - Aaron Howard
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